the guide to. . .being the non-gossip girl


I am not proud to say this. About a year and a half ago I had a conversation that left me feeling dirty. I had met a friend for dinner and I realized that throughout the dinner, through the margaritas and the chips and salsa and fish tacos we had talked about other people, some our friends. We didn't do it intentionally or to be malicious. I think, in fact, we thought we were helping in some weird way by working out their issues or maybe we were trying to make ourselves feel better by talking about how screwed up other people's lives were. But these were people we were talking about and I felt like I had betrayed trust placed in me, even if they never heard our discussions.

That night I felt disgusted. I wondered "If I'm talking with a friend about another friend, then they will probably do the same thing about me." I decided at that moment that I wanted to be the kind of person who could be trusted. I didn't want to wonder if someone overheard my conversation or if God forbid, what I said got back to someone. This wasn't the person I wanted to be.

It happened organically. I simply didn't bring up other people in conversation and if someone else did, I would say something like "I honestly don't know" and let the subject dissolve. It wasn't easy at first which made me realize how much we do talk about other people. What amazes me is how much my relationships shifted immediately, in a positive way. Once you stop filling a conversation with other people, you actually learn something about someone else, about what they like, about where they've been and where they want to do. You talk about the world and all that there is to do and see and be and play. You also build trust with those around you, whether it's a family member, friend or colleague. This is key to long-lasting, deep, fulfilling relationships.

In trying to get my happy back. I realized that you can't control everything that happens in your world but you can control what comes out of your mouth. I want the people in my world to know that your name is sacred in my mouth. I will protect your name and speak of you only with the best of intentions, because that is what a happy girl does. You have my word.